As the Mets continue to wrap up what’s been a disappointing season, there have been quite a few rumblings about what New York will focus on for 2024. Could one of those things be replacing Buck Showalter with Craig Counsell as the club’s manager?
It’s looking unlikely. The chance of New York hiring David Stearns to fill its eternally vacant President of Baseball Operations position is looking good. There had been speculation that Stearns might bring Counsell, his longtime manager in Milwaukee, with him to Queens.
After all, a dude in charge of baseball operations likes to have his own “guy” managing the squad. Counsell’s Brewers contract is also up at the end of this season. The timing couldn’t be more perfect, right?
According to USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale, the veteran skipper is expected to take some time off instead of immediately looking for a new deal:
Don’t expect Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell to follow David Stearns to New York, if Stearns indeed becomes their president of baseball operations. Counsell tells friends that he likely will take at least a year off to be around his family, with two sons playing collegiate baseball and two daughters in high school.
This checks out with earlier reports suggesting the same thing. But could the Mets possibly be in the market for a new manager once Counsell is ready to return? Let’s not get it twisted — this is purely speculation on my part. However, the thought came to me after reading Nightengale’s report.
Mets owner Steve Cohen has been publicly supporting Buck Showalter as his manager for next season. That’s not a surprise. Buck is still one year removed from a 101-win campaign and winning his fourth Manager of the Year Award. He’s also under contract through 2024 and is due to earn $4 million. I still wouldn’t mind a change in manager after hearing about his plans for the club down the stretch, but such is life.
If New York hires Stearns, he may ultimately decide he wants to install a new skipper. But then again, if the Mets play another long game, maybe Showalter stays. If the Amazins want Counsell and he’s not ready to return in 2025, maybe Buck will continue to stick around.
We’ve seen how patient Cohen has been with his POBO search. It wouldn’t be outrageous if the organization took the same approach to hiring their next manager if they felt change was needed.
Does Buck have his faults? Well, yes — of course he does. But so does just about every other manager. After initially trying to hire “rising stars” for these types of positions, Cohen has specifically mentioned how he wants people in place who have experience. He’s OK with playing the long game for organizational stability and consistent competitiveness. However, the dude doesn’t want to wait longer than necessary to win a World Series.
This will certainly be something to watch as we move forward. Showalter returning for 2024 wouldn’t surprise me one bit. And to keep their options open, it also wouldn’t surprise me if they added a club option for 2025. This way, Buck doesn’t have to manage on a one-year deal, and the Mets can stay flexible.
Of course, this depends on whether Counsell wants to return that quickly, and where he wants to manage when ready. After considering the situation, though, I wonder if these thoughts are going through anyone’s mind in Queens right now.